On this date in 1979, Georgia-based party punk/new wave band the B-52’s released their debut album, self-titled The B-52’s.
The kitschy lyrics and mood, and the hook-laden harmonies helped establish a fanbase for the band, who went on to release several chart-topping singles.
The B-52’s peaked at number 59 on the Billboard 200, and the main single “Rock Lobster” reached number 56 on the Billboard Hot 100. In his 1995 book, The Alternative Music Almanac, Alan Cross placed the album ninth on the list of 10 Classic Alternative Albums. In 2003, VH1 named it the 99th greatest album of all time. Shortly before his death, John Lennon said he enjoyed The B-52’s.
In a retrospective review, Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic wrote: “Unabashed kitsch mavens at a time when their peers were either vulgar or stylish, the Athens quintet celebrated all the silliest aspects of pre-Beatles pop culture—bad hairdos, sci-fi nightmares, dance crazes, pastels, and anything else that sprung into their minds—to a skewed fusion of pop, surf, avant-garde, amateurish punk, and white funk.
The B-52’s was included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. In 2020, the album was ranked number 198 on Rolling Stone’s magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. The last time they released an album was in April 2018 called Live! Rock ‘N Rockets 1998.
The music video here via Brad Sergi, the B-52’s singing “Lava”. It was made in 1978. Sergi directed the video and some students from University of Georgia in Athens helped him with the video shooting.
Personally, this album played quite an important role in my musical taste. It shaped me into the person I am today. The album and the band, they totally broaden my horizon. Big game changer. Earlier, I was more of a no-future, l’anarchie pour le UK punk rock kid. Since Fred, Kate, Cindy, Ricky, and Keith, came into my life, I have evolved into a glam-slam new wave fashionista.
Happy 42nd anniversary, The B-52’s!
• Read also IGGY POP & KATE PIERSON: CANDY.